How do you know if your panels are going out?

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Robert D

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Ive got a pair of Prodigy speakers that I bought about 4 years ago or so, cant remember. From the serial # they appear to have been manufactured in July 2000. They sound fantastic to me, havent changed in sound since I bought them. The settings through Audessy on my Marantz are a bit weird though. It basically has to set the gain all the way up for the 2 speakers while the other channels are all way down. I have a nice ML Theater center channel and then surround speakers with 4 ML electromotion ICs in the ceiling for Atmos. The prodigys are about +14.5 or so on gain and the center channel I think is about +2. The other speakers are all -5 or more.

Im wondering if the panels are maybe starting to go out. Do they become harder to "drive" when they age? They still sound awesome. Im using a Indy Sound 2 channel amp to drive them: Aragon - 8008

This is my first set of electrostatic speakers and I have no clue how you know when they are going out. If they are going out now then maybe I am pushing my amp way harder than I need to? Id hate to do that. Also dont want to rush and replace the panels if they dont need it.

What do you think? Is it normal for someone to have their receiver set the gain so high on these speakers?
 
Does the music sound well balanced or have largely low frequency weight. When the panels loose efficiency due to age at a given volume they will sound less loud due to lower output. Concomitantly the woofer will not loose efficiency. Therefore the balance of the speakers may be from highs, mids, lows all well balanced to overall balance giving weight to low frequencies. If the panels sound awesome to you then they may be functioning without fault.

I may be mistaken and not possible for me to ground my following opinion based on solid technical reason. From the marantz you wish to listen to all your loudspeakers at more or less the same aural level. Some speakers in your mix are less powerful and possess dynamic technology requiring less power to drive compared to the Prodigy that offer a electrostatic capacitive load and have 600 watts per channel power handling. Ergo requiring much comparatively speaking power to produce a given sound pressure level. The Prodigy place a greater demand on amplification compared to other smaller speakers in the mix for uniform consistent SPL. Therefore I make a educated guess the higher gain setting on the marantz for Prodigy. My opinion is normal for the receiver to set the gain so high for Prodigy.

Your concern is however valid and if panels start to loose efficiency audessy will set higher and higher gain to compensate for lower SPL.

Please wait for the experts like Jonathan to give their opinion.
 
Hola Robert and welcome,

I am going to chime a little bit. First of all, you have a different sensitivity from your Aragon power amp vs your Marantz. This difference in this feature might cause to you to have such increased level to your Prodigies. Just for a test, can you try the Prodigies direct to your Marantz? Yes, of course I do know the quality power amp the the Aragon is. Try it first. If the test is about the same, yes, you might have a stat panel failure. You can do the washing procedure. Sometimes this washing make to awaken up the stat panels. It is not a very difficult task, but it does require two persons for to do the job. I sent to you a PM.
 
Does the music sound well balanced or have largely low frequency weight. When the panels loose efficiency due to age at a given volume they will sound less loud due to lower output. Concomitantly the woofer will not loose efficiency. Therefore the balance of the speakers may be from highs, mids, lows all well balanced to overall balance giving weight to low frequencies. If the panels sound awesome to you then they may be functioning without fault.

I may be mistaken and not possible for me to ground my following opinion based on solid technical reason. From the marantz you wish to listen to all your loudspeakers at more or less the same aural level. Some speakers in your mix are less powerful and possess dynamic technology requiring less power to drive compared to the Prodigy that offer a electrostatic capacitive load and have 600 watts per channel power handling. Ergo requiring much comparatively speaking power to produce a given sound pressure level. The Prodigy place a greater demand on amplification compared to other smaller speakers in the mix for uniform consistent SPL. Therefore I make a educated guess the higher gain setting on the marantz for Prodigy. My opinion is normal for the receiver to set the gain so high for Prodigy.

Your concern is however valid and if panels start to loose efficiency audessy will set higher and higher gain to compensate for lower SPL.

Please wait for the experts like Jonathan to give their opinion.
My guess is the same as yours, on why the gain is so high. Im using the Marantz to drive all the speakers except for the Prodigys. The Prodigys I have those running off of my dual monoblock Aragon 8008. The signal comes from the Marantz pre outs, think thats the proper term for the terminals. Using RCA plugs.
 
They have lots of high frequency response too, not base heavy at all. To be honest I have not even vacuumed them since I bought them about 4 or 5 years ago. The sound doesnt seem to have degraded any. I think I will at least try to vacuum them. Is it really necessary to keep them unplugged for 24 hours? It takes that long for the static to discharge?

I also wonder about my center channel theater speaker. Its got the same panel and it sounds good too, only it doesnt need the same gain. Its much smaller though. Ive never cleaned it either. I think I am the second owner, but cant be 100% sure. I dont know if the original owner replaced the panels. Its possible because at the time I bought them they were already about 15 years old.

The original owner was a very smart oncologist/surgeon and ended up ironically dying from cancer. He had lots of beautiful audio equipment that was auctioned off and proceeds went to cancer research. Im proud to own his speakers.
 
Correct above - they will become bass heavy as the highs drop off (the extreme treble first).

BUT......

You can't really know if you're playing with different amps, EQ, Audyssey, etc.

So as Roberto said - run them through a direct and common amp to test. Keep it simple!
 
Correct above - they will become bass heavy as the highs drop off (the extreme treble first).

BUT......

You can't really know if you're playing with different amps, EQ, Audyssey, etc.

So as Roberto said - run them through a direct and common amp to test. Keep it simple!
Good point. Testing it the way I have it now I also turned off the Audyssey and they still sounded ok, although not as good. Ill have to have my lazy butt hook them up to the Marantz.
 
How I tell mine panel was degrading doesn't apply to most of you unless you have Aeon I or Clarity. I A/B NAC on and off when I just got my Clarity, the high freq. difference was small until last few month without NAC on, the sound just dull and dark to a point I kept NAC on full time. While it sounds decent, but with NAC on just create this weird sound stage which prevent me to do any serious listening. Sold the speaker not too long after and disclose everything to the new owner, surprisingly, he digs the sound as is.
 
I hah an issue with the one panel after a couple of years. Untill that I found the sound was as when I got them. ML actually changed the panels in both LS (free of charge to me). My surprise was how much better they sounded when I got them back. So I think the change comes sneaking so you simply do not notice it, until a certain point where something sounds wrong.
 
Roberto nailed it AGAIN! You need to do single point testing. Hook up your speakers to the other amp and see what happens. I do not know the sensitivity of your speakers. If you want to post that up for each different type of speaker you have. I can then see how they should interact. For example I will make up some numbers to make my point. If the Prodigy's were 88db at 1 watt and your surrounds and center are all around 93 to 94 db at 1 watt. You would absolutely have to turn the Prodigy's up a good bit to make up the difference. Let us know what you find.
 
Hola RoberD,
Your Aragon 8008 sensitivity is: 1.68V for full output. In other words, you need to apply good signal intensity to it's input. This is not related to the quality watts.

Happy listening!
 
I would think that vacuuming your panels would be a good idea regardless of other considerations
Going to do that soon. So I need to unplug the power to the speakers and also unplug the speaker cables for at least 8 hours, right? Hoping to just let it sit overnight so I dont have to interrupt the family's use of the tv and sound. If thats not long enough then they will have to deal with it.
 
Does the music sound well balanced or have largely low frequency weight. When the panels loose efficiency due to age at a given volume they will sound less loud due to lower output. Concomitantly the woofer will not loose efficiency. Therefore the balance of the speakers may be from highs, mids, lows all well balanced to overall balance giving weight to low frequencies. If the panels sound awesome to you then they may be functioning without fault.

I may be mistaken and not possible for me to ground my following opinion based on solid technical reason. From the marantz you wish to listen to all your loudspeakers at more or less the same aural level. Some speakers in your mix are less powerful and possess dynamic technology requiring less power to drive compared to the Prodigy that offer a electrostatic capacitive load and have 600 watts per channel power handling. Ergo requiring much comparatively speaking power to produce a given sound pressure level. The Prodigy place a greater demand on amplification compared to other smaller speakers in the mix for uniform consistent SPL. Therefore I make a educated guess the higher gain setting on the marantz for Prodigy. My opinion is normal for the receiver to set the gain so high for Prodigy.

Your concern is however valid and if panels start to loose efficiency audessy will set higher and higher gain to compensate for lower SPL.

Please wait for the experts like Jonathan to give their opinion.
Now that I turned off Adyssey and listened to the 2 speakers, it does sound base heavy and "muddy" quite a bit, but then if i turn on Audyssey it sounds fine but is lacking some base. Before I thought I had turned off Audyssey but I had it set to flat and not Off. So maybe Audyssey is decreasing the lower frequencies to compensate for the higher ones that are lower in volume than they should be, and the panels really are going out?

Still havent gotten around to hooking up the speakers directly to the receiver. I did it on my old Marantz and the volume was really low and the sound unimpressive, why I bought the new 2 channel Aaragon amp. The old Marantz is very similar to the one im using now, just the new one has Atmos for 4 speakers. 11 channel.

Not a great time now with covid-19 creeping around to be spending thousands of dollars. Suppose I can just get by with what I have. Dont know how much they are asking for a set of the panels for Prodigy. I also wonder about the other components, diodes and capacitors etc, maybe those are going out too?
 
Does anyone know a ball park figure on how much a set of panels for the Prodigy would be? I asked about 4 years ago but forget what they told me and I neglected to write it down. Calling in now to ML you cant speak to anyone live it seems. Just wondering what it might run if I end up wanting to do it.
 
Vista panels were $2100 shipped, for a pair, two years ago.
Does anyone know if the new panels they are putting out are any better acoustically, will the user hear and better quality? I also wonder if they last any longer than the old ones.
Do you hear any difference in yours?

If the Vista panels were $2100, then it would seem the Prodigy speakers' would be considerably more. I sent them an email earlier today enquiring about it.
 
Hola RoberD,
Your Aragon 8008 sensitivity is: 1.68V for full output. In other words, you need to apply good signal intensity to it's input. This is not related to the quality watts.

Happy listening!
Ok, so then it makes sense that the gain on the receiver feeding into it has to have it set high? The gain is up at 12.0 for the left and 12.5 for the right, as set by Audyssey. I checked the sound level in the menu where you compare the volume of each channel by listening and it sounds right.

The gain on my center channel theater speaker is set at -1.0. The two rear pairs and the two ceiling pairs are all around -5.0 or so. Those are all running directly off of the Marantz. Here is the Marantz I am using:

https://www.us.marantz.com/en-US/shop/avreceivers/sr8012_m
 
When the panels have gone out it's extremely obvious, the sound becomes muddy and very bass-heavy (as someone mentioned the panels become much softer while the bass stays the same). It sounds bad, almost unlistenable.

If yours sound good then they should be fine. I'd say the gain needed is due to different amps.

And yes, you should give it a vacuum once every few months at least. I just unplug them when I go to bed and vacuum them the next day.
 
When the panels have gone out it's extremely obvious, the sound becomes muddy and very bass-heavy (as someone mentioned the panels become much softer while the bass stays the same). It sounds bad, almost unlistenable.

If yours sound good then they should be fine. I'd say the gain needed is due to different amps.

And yes, you should give it a vacuum once every few months at least. I just unplug them when I go to bed and vacuum them the next day.
The panels sounds a bit like that if I run them without the Audyssey applied, turned off. When I turn it on to "reference" or even "flat" they sound much better but then much of the base is gone from them. I have a depth i sub I use for the base. I think the audyssey set the fronts to cut off at 40 HZ, so maybe thats why the base is gone when I turn it on? The base sounds better to me with Audyssey off but then the higher frequencies sound like crap. Somehow the audyssey makes it sound better.
I would assume the panels are indeed going out since they sound muddy with no filter running, and its the audyssey that is somehow making them sound ok?
 
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